Lowndes Co. Commission to request six-year terms to state legislature

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The Lowndes County Commission recently approved a request to ask the Alabama State Legislature to extend the terms of newly-elected commissioners from four to six years.

The request narrowly escaped dismissal at Monday’s regular commission meeting in Hayneville. In a 2-1 vote, District 4 Commissioner Joseph Barganier and District 3 Commissioner Marzett Thomas approved the request while District 5 Commissioner Dickson Farrior voted against the request.

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Commission Chairman Charlie King and District 1 Commissioner Robert Harris both abstained.

Barganier, who was elected to the commission in November, made the motion to approve the request.

Harris emphasized the legislative request is to extend the elected terms of newly-elected commissioners and not current commissioners. Harris chose to abstain because he hasn’t had ample time to review the request.

“I have a bunch of reasons to do it and a bunch of reasons not to do it,” Harris said. “I hadn’t made up my mind either way.”

Farrior said he doesn’t understand the reasons behind the term extension, citing Lowndes County commissioners have served four-year terms “for as long as he can remember.”

“(The request) just came up at the meeting. There was no prior discussion at all. Normally something like this would be kicked around some – see what people think about it.”

In other business

Commission Administrator Jacquelyn Thomas’ request was approved to interview two applicants for an assistant administrator position on the commission. The assistant administrator would assist Thomas in her duties.

A committee addressed the commission to declare one day out of the calendar year as John Hulett Day. Hulett, who was elected as Lowndes County’s first black sheriff, died in August 2006. Hulett organized the Lowndes County Freedom Party, considered to be the county’s first black political party. The former sheriff also helped organized the Black Panther Party and was among the first black men to vote in Lowndes County. The commission’s decision has not been determined yet, Harris said.